1. On average, the busiest time for holiday shopping at the mall is any time you decide to go shopping at the mall.
First of all, maybe just don’t go to the mall between November-January. But I guess if you really hate yourself and want to experience public claustrophobia, head over to the mall and look for a parking spot close enough to the mall so that you don’t have to squint to make out the shape of the building. Be sure you take all of your children with you so that your shopping time is doubled with lots of free whining. I also hear the Apple store has some light traffic this time of year, so you may want to throw a few essentials into your purse just in case (like an air mattress, a toothbrush, and some money to treat yourself to those cinnamon glazed pecans seven days later).
2. The holidays are busy and it’s hard to fit in EVERYTHING you want to do. Prioritize.
For example: as much as I love a good Turkey Trot at 7am on Thanksgiving Day………………………………. in an effort to prioritize, I’ve determined that sitting in my pajamas until noon surrounded by people I love is of higher value than getting frostbite just to lose calories. Thanksgiving is about being thankful as you accumulate calories, so unfortunately I won’t be at any Turkey Trots, but I can commit to a courtesy “like” to all those on Facebook and Instagram who post a race pic. I’m so proud of you guys, so proud. Usain Bolt is too.
3. Some people are crazy. Some of those people happen to be your relatives.
Look. You know someone is going to casually bring up politics as they pass the mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving, as if it’s a completely neutral topic, as if they didn’t blast ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative posts on Facebook all election season. Ugh, Aunt Brenda. Pass the mashed potatoes and while you’re at it, pass the talking stick too. You lose ALL talking privileges for this holiday. And y’all know if it’s not Brenda, it’s about to be Crazy Uncle Gary rolling up to family dinner like a bat out of hell with his fifty shades of dysfunction. When everyone goes around to say what they’re thankful for and you say you’re thankful to still be at the kid’s table, everyone knows what you’re trying to say. They wish they were at the kid’s table too.
4. Dance like no one’s watching, sing like no one’s listening, but mainly- eat that fried turkey leg like no one’s noticed your elastic waistband.
The holidays almost always revolve around food and meals. For some, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For others, food is your frenemy and since you can’t fathom stringing together that many cheat days, you’ll be the person at Thanksgiving like, “You guys, is there room in the oven for the grain-free Paleo stuffing I made?” I don’t have many rules for my Thanksgiving and Christmas eating, but the few I do have, I will impart to you:
-Look out for Number One and make a power move to the front of the food line.
-If you can still see the Pottery Barn turkey after you’ve filled your plate, you didn’t do it right.
-Be strategic in your eating, which is to say don’t talk to anyone at the table. Just eat. Unless Adele comes to your house for Christmas dinner, then you may say a few things to her between bites. “Hello. Can you hear me?”
-Embrace the food coma wherever it may take you. Maybe it doesn’t take you anywhere and you fall asleep sitting in your dining room chair. Live in that moment right there. You’ll be perfectly in place for the start of the next meal.
5. Christmas cards are proof that you do shower and your kids can all look at the camera at once. It’s a Christmas miracle!
I guess I could just pick a photo from my phone for this year’s Christmas card, but my options are limited to: my 1 year old with her finger straight up her nose, my 1 year old doing something interesting but you can’t tell because it’s a wiggly blur, and screenshots of people’s fair food as reminders for next year. Now that I think about it, a collage of those three photos would actually be pretty accurate for 2016.